The six-foot tall giant approached me with an extended hand. Etched on his face was wisdom that came from 62 years of living on this earth, yet this grip was firm, the handshake vigorous.
Dressed in a plain white shirt and won-out trousers, Gov. Wayne McFarland Jaro and his wife Amelia invited me into their home. For two days, they accommodated me and photographer Erik Liongoren, showed us a good time.
The Governor is the youngest in a brood of four from the first wife. He was barely a month old when his mother died. His father remarried his mother's youngest sister. It was then that he became known as Wayne.
"My stepmother was an avid fan of the Duke, si John Wayne. Eh sa school, masyado raw mahaba ang pangalan ko kaya pinaikli niya, kaya naging Wayne." he relates with amusement.
Perhaps it was the presence of his aides that caused him to hesitate to divulge his real name; nonetheless, he did. "It's Winnifred." he says, his laugther echoing through the room.
Gov. Jaro is a man of many faces. He is a dentist by profession (graduated from the University of the East), a businessman by avocation and a Colonel by appointment (he served under President Fidel Ramos during the former days as a general), but of these, his most cherished title is father.
He is father to nine children, six boys and three girls, all of them grown up, all professionals in their own right except for the youngest who is still in school.
Gov. Jaro settled in Bacolod when he graduated from college. It was during his tenure there that he met his wife. However, being a dentist day in and day out eventually wore him down. It was then that he decided to go into business.
"Business came naturally to me. I don't know why, pero I enjoy it. And learned a lot from it that I'm able to apply to my job as governor." he says. Presently, Gov. Jaro is also Chairman of the Board of Protectors Security Agency, one of the premier security agencies in the country.
He is the first to admit that he speaks his mind, a trait which probably came from his grandfather, one of the first settlers in Maripipi, Matthew McFarland.
His recreation is working. He says he is not happy when he is just lying around, accomplishing nothing. "I feel better when I get tired at the end of the day because it means the day was wasted."
He became governor in 1992 by appointment and retained the position when he was elected in 1995. Since then, Biliran has seen tremendous growth, from virtual wasteland to an up-and-coming metro province. He believes in his province, and his people believe in him.
He knows he has a herculean task ahead task ahead of him, but he doesn't mind. He's done such a great job boosting Biliran to its present state. He knows that this is just part of the package. He is doing everything for his beloved Biliran. After all, it is his world.
About the Author: RJ C. Baliza MagNegosyo Published by the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center a government corporation under the Office of the President, Republic of the Philippines his excellency Fidel V. Ramos. February 1997 page 19